So A Voice for Men, having lost or abandoned the original venue for their “Men’s Issues” conference in Detroit, has announced its new location: A VFW post some 18 miles away from the original hotel where, presumably, most of the conference’s attendees will be staying.
According to Paul Elam, they made the move in large part to spare conference-goers the terrible inconvenience of having to watch the no-doubt riveting presentations from an “overflow room.”
In a post last night, Elam declared that all the media attention given to the conference
has produced is a hell of a lot more interest in the conference, and more ticket sales. So much so, as a matter of fact, that we have opted to move to a venue that will seat more people and provide more security than was available previously.
While we apologize for any inconvenience that the move is going to cause, it is nonetheless a positive move for the conference. Because seating capacity was misrepresented to us at the previous venue, we were forced to plan for an overflow room where we would pipe in live events to a monitor at reduced ticket prices.
With the change of venue we will be able to accommodate all attendees in the same space at the same time.
Naturally, the first thing some critics of Elam did when they saw this announcement was to look up the seating capacity of the largest rooms at both venues. The largest room at the Doubletree Fort Shelby, where the conference was originally scheduled to take place, seats 300, with a maximum capacity of 310. The largest room at the VFW post … also seats 300. Or maybe 350. The VFW website isn’t clear.
In other words, Elam expects us to believe that in order to avoid the inconvenience of having to resort to “overflow rooms,” AVFM moved its convention to a venue 18 miles away from the original hotel that might not even offer rooms any bigger than the original venue.
Meanwhile, in the comments to Elam’s post, one would-be conference attendee reports that the Doubletree has canceled his reservation. If Doubletree has decided to wash its hands of the conference attendees now that they are no longer hosting the conference, and Elam is telling the truth about the number of people planning to attend, this could mean hundreds of people scrambling for hotel rooms.
Still, Elam and his troops are eager to present this as a great victory.
It’s weird. You might think that this sort of reality distortion would be impossible in a democratic country in the internet age. Sure, back in Stalin’s day, the Soviet Union’s propaganda machine could present massive failure as success and get away with it – at least to some degree, at least within their own country.
In the wake of a disastrous program of “forced collectivization” of rural agriculture in 1929-30, which left many peasants dead or imprisoned and paved the way for future famines, Stalin famously announced in an article in Pravda that the program had been so amazingly successful that he needed to call a temporary halt so that everyone could catch their breath. The title of his article: “Dizzy With Success.”
The only way you can get away with bullshit this brazen is if you’re a dictator or the leader of a cult – something that A Voice for Men has increasingly come to resemble. AVFMers are expected not only to accept Elam’s leadership; they’re expected to accept his distinctly non-consensus reality – a world turned upside down in which men are the real victims of domestic violence and rape and pretty much everything else, a world in which the Southern Poverty Law Center is a collection of evil bigots and his motley collection of misogynists is the true human rights movement of the twenty-first century.
Like a lot of cult leaders, Elam keeps his troops too busy to think straight in a continual frenzy of pseudo-activism. AVFMers are forever brigading comment sections of newspaper articles and YouTube videos in little squads (AVFMers almost always travel in packs), all reciting the same few talking points.
Weirdly, the dynamics of internet discussions can actually reinforce this kind of intellectual conformity, much as Stalin’s control of the media did in his day. No, AVFMers can’t avoid being exposed to facts that contradict the shared (un)reality of their ideological bubble.
But in internet discussions you don’t have to be right in order to convince yourself you’ve won an argument. You just have to be loud and persistent and unwilling to ever give in. You don’t have to convince anyone else of your arguments so long as you convince yourself. MRAs don’t win many arguments on their merits, but they manage to convince themselves they win every one.
The trouble is that when they step outside of their regular stomping grounds on the internet, this strategy – so effective in generating ideological conformity amongst cult members – falls completely apart.
We’ve seen several spectacular examples in the past couple of weeks. First, we watched a concert organized by Canadian Men’s Rights group CAFE implode after musicians and sponsors realized what they’d been roped into; the pathetically unconvincing attempts by the group to explain away this failure were amazing to behold.
Then we saw AVFM’s Dean Esmay reduce himself to a caricature on Fox (local) news as he rapidly regurgitated standard AVFM talking points like some sort of fanatical ideological auctioneer, apparently unaware that to everyone outside of the Men’s Rights bubble everything he was saying was obviously utter nonsense.
And now we have Paul Elam trying to convince the world that AVFM changed its venue for its conference because, hey, we needed more room!
The trouble with having your head up your ass most of the time is that when you take it out, people tend to notice the smell.
But, hey, as long as the AVFMers are happy with their new venue, I’m happy for them. Janet Bloomfield, the official “social media director” for the conference, posted this triumphant tweet lat night:
She has assured me that this is an actual quote. The “Wayne State cunts” remark is apparently a reference to the Wayne State sociology professor who, er, debated AVFM’s Dean Esmay on the local Fox affiliate the other day. Esmay has also posted a slightly shorter version of the same quote in the AVFM comments section.
So, yes, both the official PR representative for the conference and AVFM’s “managing editor” both apparently think it’s a great idea to refer to women who disagree with them as “cunts.”
Oh, and Bloomfield also thinks it’s hilarious to joke about Elam scamming his supporters of the $29,000 raised for additional security:
— jonathan frandzone (@NotAllBhas) June 12, 2014
You can’t buy this kind of publicity, largely because as far as I know there are no PR firms that offer organizations help in destroying the last tiny shreds of their credibility.